We're a week away from the signing deadline, and a lot of activity awaits. Only nine of the 33 first-rounders have agreed to terms, though I still think they'll all sign before the clock strikes midnight on the evening of Aug. 15. Last year, teams spent a total of $195.8 million on draft bonuses, including $91.1 million on the final day, and the industry will obliterate both of those records this year.
To keep up with all of the signing news as it happens, check out our Draft Blog and http://twitter.com/#!/jimcallisBA. We list all the signings on our Draft Database and Advanced Draft Database
, and the latter includes scouting reports and bonus information. We also present the estimated MLB bonus recommendations for each pick in the first five rounds on our bonuses vs. slots chart
With the signing deadline happening next Monday, Ask BA will be postponed a couple of days and appear on Wednesday instead. Be sure to hit me up with plenty of draft-related questions.
- What will the signing bonus for No. 1 overall pick Gerrit Cole end up being? And have the Pirates' odds of signing second-rounder Josh Bell increased/decreased/stayed the same as we get closer to Aug. 15?
Cole's probably won't agree to terms until shortly before midnight next Monday. The UCLA righthander will wind up getting a major league contract, and I'll set the over/under on the bonus at $5 million and the guaranteed value at $7.5 million. That said, I'd never bet the under when the Boras Corp. is involved.
It's quite possible that all six of the unsigned top-seven picks (Cole, Mariners lefthander Danny Hultzen, Orioles righthander Dylan Bundy, Royals outfielder Bubba Starling, Nationals third baseman Anthony Rendon, Diamondbacks righty Archie Bradley) will get big league or two-sport deals. My over/under on those six deals: $41.5 million.
The third overall pick, righthander Trevor Bauer, already signed a major league contract with Arizona with a $3.4 million bonus and a total guaranteed value of $4.45 million. If Bauer spends most of 2012-14 in the majors, as expected, he'll collect close to $7 million.
I addressed Bell's situation in the June 20 Ask BA, and my thoughts haven't changed since then. I like the gamble, because the Texas high school outfielder might have the highest offensive ceiling in the draft and the Pirates will get the No. 62 pick in the 2012 draft if they can't sign Bell. But his mother, a professor at Texas-Arlington, wants him to attend college, and I'm not sure an eight-figure bonus would buy him away from Texas.
- Now that Drew Pomeranz and Alex White and Joe Gardner are all Rockies and Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis are major leaguers, who's left to form an Indians Top 10 Prospects list? I sure hope that the Indians are as aggressive in signing remaining draft choices as they were at the trading deadline.
With promotions and trades, half of last year's Indians Top 10 Prospects list won't be eligible for the next edition. What would the Top 10 look like right now, assuming Cleveland signs first-round pick Francisco Lindor and second-rounder Dillon Howard?
Not only are the first four players on last year's Indians Top 10 either traded (Pomeranz, White) or in the majors, presumably to stay (Chisenhall, Kipnis), the next two guys (outfielder Nick Weglarz, righthander Jason Knapp) have had their 2011 seasons ruined by injuries. Here's how I envision our 2012 Top 10, assuming the Indians reach deals with Lindor and Howard. Many of Cleveland's best-performing prospects are relievers, but I only included two on the list and opted for prospects with higher ceilings.
1. Francisco Lindor, ss
Eighth overall pick was the best pure shortstop in 2011 draft.
2. Dillon Howard, rhp
First-round talent has heavy low-90s sinker, good athleticism.
3. Tony Wolters, ss
Has advanced line-drive bat; Lindor likely would push him to second base.
4. Nick Hagadone, lhp
Fastball and slider give reliever two strikeout pitches; command is much improved.
5. Felix Sterling, rhp
Holding his own at 18 in low Class A with nifty fastball-slider combination.
6. Ronnie Rodriguez, ss
Another teenager in low A, his multi-tool potential is more impressive than his numbers.
7. Luigi Rodriguez, of
Hit .379 with speed and some pop in Rookie ball to earn promotion to low A at age 18.
8. Chen Lee, rhp
Taiwanese Olympian runs fastball up to 96, has 87 K in 61 IP in upper minors.
9. Levon Washington, of
Fourth low Class A teenager on list has Carl Crawford toolset but struggling in pro debut.
10. Chun Chen, c
Has hit his way to Double-A but still must prove he can stay behind the plate.
- Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar is pushing a .300/.400/.500 triple-slash line for the year. This is impressive for any player at any level, but even more so given that he's an 18-year-old shortstop. How rare is it for a teenager to put up a line like that in full season ball?
With a month to play in the minor league season, Profar is hitting .290/.397/.499 at low Class A Hickory. If he can get to .300/.400/.500, he'll become just the fifth teenager to do so in a full-season league in the last seven seasons.
Royals catcher Wil Myers did it last year, batting .315/.429/.506 between low and high Class A. Braves outfielder Jason Heyward hit .323/.408/.555 while rising from high Class A to Triple-A and winning Baseball America's Minor League Player of the Year Award in 2009. Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton batted .319/.410/.551 in high Class A and Double-A in 2007, and finished that season in the majors. Royals outfielder/third baseman Billy Butler had a monster first full pro season in 2005, batting .340/.404/.611 between high Class A and Double-A.
All four of those players were 19. The last 18-year-old to accomplish the feat was Cardinals catcher Daric Barton, who hit .313/.445/.511 in low Class A in 2004. So if Profar can pull this off, he'd be in very rare company indeed.